Raising funds for the arts

Art education in Randolph County elementary schools was eliminated 25 years ago, so concerned artists, teachers, residents, parents and students have gathered for 21 years to raise funds to provide art experiences for children.

The annual ArtsBank auction, held Saturday at the Elks Club, is the main fundraiser for this program that provides hands-on art experiences for students, including those at the West Virginia Children’s Home in Elkins.

Local artists and businesses donate items sold during a silent auction and grand auction during the event, which also offers attendees a dessert bar. Items during the silent auction included paintings and home-made foods, and grand auction items included a guitar, artwork, memberships and sporting tickets.

“Normally the auction brings in between $12,000 to $15,000,” said Scottie Wiest, president of ArtsBank Council.

“Artists in the school offer students experience in painting, drawing, pottery, ballet, song writing, collage making, quilting, square dancing, puppetry, graphic arts, printmaking, poetry and movement.”

Artists heading up this school year’s programming include Jane Birdsong, who teaches students in third, fourth and fifth grade basic principles of architecture; Suzanne Bowyer-McWhorter, teaching kindergarten and Pre-K students poetry and writing; Danille Cade, offering instruction in drawing and painting; Akiko Endo, teaching origami construction related to the functions of geometry and trigonometry; Sarah Ferguson, offering the fundamentals of art and art history using multi-media; Patricia Graap, prompting students to tell and write about stories that have meaning in their lives; Carrie and Michael Kline, engaging children in folklore, music and tales from our culture; Leslie Gordon, teaching weaving, doll making and fabric crafts; Diana Vera, working with expressive arts tuning; and Kevin Woodcock, introducing reductive color relief printmaking.

More information about the ArtsBank program is available by calling coordinator Bill McWhorter at 304-636-9150.